'Banks of the Daw',
Poems, Lyric and Pastoral (London, 2 vols., 1794), pp. 40–44:
BANKS OF THE DAW.
WRITTEN IN 1778.
DAW.- The river that runs by the Author's native place.
OBEDIENT, sweet Muse, to thy gentle command,
I lead, with warm feelings, thy numbers along;
O! bid thy bright flame in my bosom expand;
Bid all thy rich fancies replenish my song.
'Tis Nature all-charming this ardour inspires;
Carp on, my good Critics, I care not a straw;
I sing what no square-wielding Critic admires,
Wild beauty that sports on the Banks of the Daw.
Here thickets romantic, irregular meads,
In order fantastic seem scatter'd around;
'Tis Nature's gay play, has a charm that exceeds
All modes that in system can ever be found;
This wild-winding river observe in the vale,
'Tis Beauty's true line, which dull Art never saw,
By Fancy display'd, where she warbles her tale,
To the rapturous Bard on the Banks of the Daw.
No vice-haunted cities encumber this plain;
No glittering domes in false dignity swell;
The meek artless nymph, and her innocent swain,
Here still with mild Peace and Simplicity dwell;
'Tis the sweet British blackbird that sings in my grove;
No parrot pedantic, no learned macaw;
And to hear my lov'd nightingale often I rove,
Where the moon sweetly silvers the Banks of the
On the brow of yon hill a torn castle appears;
Low humbled in rubbish old grandeur we trace;
The ruin yields now to the ravage of years,
And Pomp's vain memorials all vanish apace.
Rough Barons are gone, and forgotten their fame,
Who kept a rude race for long ages in awe:
But Nature, sweet rustic, for ever the same,
Still dwells with her Bard on the Banks of the Daw.
No gaudy parterre here dishonours the ground;
No feats of dull Fashion appear on these plains;
Here Beauty, dear charmer, wild wanders around,
Unfetter'd by fools in Formality's chains:
No languishing shrub, a sad exile, here mourns,
Nipt in a strange clime by the winter's keen flaw*;
But old British verdure luxuriant adorns
The sweet rural scene on the Banks of the Daw.
Now May decks the meadows with beauty profuse;
The morning's rich odours replenish the gale;
'Tis the season of song, and I'll woo the sweet Muse;
She wanders where silence inhabits the dale:
The Muse, for whose favours I treated with scorn
The wealth that vile misers rapaciously claw;
She, charmer of Nature, in Youth's early morn,
I, lisping, invok'd on the Banks of the Daw.
On the day (well remember'd) I dwell with delight,
When in search of her objects I wander'd afar;
To deep-sounding shores, where the surge, in fierce
Assails the rude rock with perpetual war.
And often, whilst Night softly curtain'd the plain,
Would I from the village in silence withdraw;
To paint my warm heart in young Passion's wild
And saunter alone on the Banks of the Daw.
Enslav'd by no passion, secluded from pride,
A rustic, inglorious, I dwell in this vale:
Let fools, lovely Nature, thy dictates deride,
I know thy sweet voice, and attend to thy tale;
And here may my moments glide peaceful along,
No conscience upbraiding my bosom to gnaw;
Thou, too, shall partake of thy Bard's humble song,
My dear native cot on the Banks of the Daw.